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Full text of "Linguistic Survey Of India Vol Ii Mon Khmer Siamese Chinese Families"

TAI GROUP.

Mm Sham on the Shweli, but in 1204 A.D. was moved to the present Mung Mau.1
Prom the Nam Man the Shans spread south-east over the present Shan States, north into
the present Kliamti region, and west of the Irrawaddy into all the country lying between
it, the Chindwin, and Assam. Centuries later they overran and conquered Assam itself.
Not only does tradition assert that these Shans of Upper Burma are the oldest branch of
the Tai family, but they are always spoken of by other branches as the Tai Long, or
Great Tai, while the other branches call themselves Tat Not, or Little Tai.

These earliest settlers and other parties from Yiin-nan gradually pressed southwards,
but the process was slow. It was not until the fourteenth century of our era that the
Siamese Tai established themselves in the great delta of the Menam, between Cambodia
and the Mon country.

The power of the Burmese Shans reached its climax in the closing years of the thir-
teenth century, and thereafter gradually decayed. The Siamese and Lao dependencies
became a separate kingdom under the suzerainty of Ayuthia, the old capital of Siam.
Wars with Burma and China were frequent and the invasions of the Chinese caused great
loss. At the commencement of the seventeenth century Shan history merges into Burmese
history, and the Shan principalities, though they were always restive and given to fre-
quent rebellions and to intestine wars, never succeeded in throwing off the yoke of the
Burmans, Henceforth, the Shans must be considered under four sections.

These are : (1) the South-Eastern Shans ; (2) the South-Western Shans ; (3) the
North-Eastern Shans ; and (4) the North-Western Shans.

(1)  The South-Eastern Shans include most of those settled east of the Salwin.
Amongst them are tho Siamese, the Lao, and the Lii and Khun.   Less subject to
Burmese control, they have been more favourably circumstanced for preserving their
national characteristics.   Consequently, both in dialect and written character, the dif-
ference between the Tai east and west of the Salwin is very marked, much more so than
between the Southern and Northern Shans of the Irrawaddy basin,

(2)  The South-Western Shans are those occupying the Southern Shan States.   The
Tai came there much later than they did to the northern portion of the country occupied
by them.   They also came much earlier under the influence of the Burmese.   They need
not occupy us further.

(3)  The North-Eastern Shans are what are generally known as Chinese Shans or Tai
Mau.   They occupy the part of lun-nan which bulges westwards towards the Irrawaddy.
The bulk of them are Chinese subjects.   The frontier line between them and the North-

Western Shans may be taken as the BiverShweli, and practically bisects the old Mau
Shan kingdom.

(4)  The North- Western and the North-Eastern Shans may together be called the
Northern Shans.   There are a few dialectic differences between the forms of speech
used by the Northern and by the South-Western Shans, but the language is practically
the same.   The North-western Shans are most directly connected with the present
inquiry as from them came the Shans of Assam, with whom alone this Survey imme-

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